Saturday, May 10, 2014


Know how I mentioned that yoga retreat in San Miguel de Allende yesterday? Well, a trip to SMdA is just about the only thing left on my bucket list.  It was placed there about ten years ago, when I first read a book called On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel de Allende, by Tony Cohan.

When I first heard about this yoga reatreat about a week ago, I didn't really pay it any mind. Sure, I'd love to go to there, but hubby and I have never really done yoga. Plus, if I ever do get to San Miguel, I do not want to be herded around in a pack all day every day. I want to be "on Mexican time" -- able to soak it all in at my own pace.

But then I went to coffee with The Muses on Tuesday, and found out that Spirit Woman and her hubby had signed up for the retreat. She told me that the yoga part was optional, and you could do as much or as little as you choose. I asked her to forward the information to me, just for the heck of it.

Once I saw the itinerary, and actual photos of the area where we would be staying, and what all we would be seeing, well, I was a goner. The few optional group activities were all to fabulous things like the Tuesday Market, the art and cultural institutes, and  La Gruta -- a natural hot springs spa with outdoor pools, a waterfall, and a cavern where you can swim -- and were balanced with oodles of time to wander on your own, sketch, or just sit in a cafe and do some people watching. Best of all, the cost was a mere fraction of what we paid for our river cruise in France, the trip would begin and end in the Brookshire Bros. parking lot, right here in Wimberley (with someone else fretting about all the worrisome bits), and the high temps in this little mountain enclave would be in the mid-70s while we were there. In August! I spent about 24 hours struggling with whether this would be a good time for us to go, what with the wedding and all, whether it would be a safe place to travel, or whether we should be spending the money, what with the kitchen re-do, until finally John took me by the shoulders and said "Just do it for pete's sake! Get in there and make the reservation!"

Now picture my big red balloon exploding, when I discovered that the tour was already fully booked.

P.S. These pictures were taken, not in San Miguel de Allende, but at the next best thing -- Fonda San Miguel restaurant, in Austin, TX.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I keep thinking that I really oughtta give the infamous (locally) Helen Stutchbury's yoga classes a try. Everyone raves about them, they're geared towards the 50+ crowd, they're dirt cheap (only $3/class!), and they have a fantastic new studio in the revamped sanctuary of the old Baptist church, right at the entrance to Blue Hole Park. And, if that isn't enough, they are even beginning to do fun stuff as a group, like making videos, and organizing trips -- to San Miguel de Allende!!!

The only thing that's holding me back is time. I'm already struggling to balance doing workouts at Curves as often as I should, doing my morning pages and continuing to write good blog posts, meeting up with the Muses once a week, having my Friday Adventure Days with Hubby, making time for art every day, having time to read every day, and now, finding time for a long walk every day, so that I can reach my 10,000 steps per day goal. (notice I didn't even include housework and gardening in my top priorities) How on earth would I squeeze in a couple of yoga classes per week, on top of everything else?

But! Then I remembered a conversation I overheard the other day. They said the owner of our Curves franchise has been looking for a buyer, so she can retire and move to Panama or someplace exotic. Basically, I go to Curves to ensure that muscles in all parts of my body are being strengthened, and to maintain my sense of balance for as long as possible. Doesn't yoga achieve those same goals?  Then why would I need both? I do feel a sense of loyalty to the current owner, and do not wish to pull my membership on her. But, if she ever did decide to chuck it all and head off to parts unknown? Well, then, that would be the perfect time for me to segue into a new yoga practice, now wouldn't it? Plus, by that time, I should be at least 20 lbs. lighter than I was when I last took a stab at yoga, with all those young, Gumby-like gals. Maybe I won't hate it quite so much if I'm with people my own age, and if my legs, though still too short, are just a wee bit less chunky.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

à bientôt

I'm off on a brief get-away to France this week -- mentally, if not physically -- thanks to a couple of books I just happened to stumble across in the "W" section of our local library.

The first was a great little mystery novel called The Dark Vineyard, by Martin Walker, whose main character is chief of police (albeit only policeman) to a village in the Perigord region, the gastronomic heartland of France. It involved vineyards and the wine industry, genetic engineering, corporate espionage, arson, the Ecolo or Green movement, and a hefty dose of French food and village life. So, of course, I loved it! Best of all was the discovery that my library has several other books from this Chief Bruno series. I already have the next one on reserve!

From The Perigord, in southwest France, I traveled up to Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise, the town where Vincent van Gogh spent his final days. The book is Leaving Van Gogh, by Carol Wallace, and for an interesting spin, the story is being narrated by this gentleman...

Dr. Gachet -- specialist in mental illness and lover of art, whom Vincent's brother Theo had asked to oversee his care and well-being, once Vincent decided he could no longer live in Paris. I'm not very far into the book yet, but am fascinated by what I have already learned. For one thing, unlike most of the other impressionists, Vincent had no formal training in the arts, and had shown no early signs of artistic talent.

He just woke up one day with the belief that "colors, certain combinations of colors, can prompt or express emotion." And so he taught himself to paint, completing more than 2,000 works of art before his death at age 37. He as always been my favorite artist because his work is so, as I love to say, "color-mad". Now I know precisely what that means.

A bientot! Later! See you when I get back from France.

P.S. Photos of his art were taken from a little calendar I bought in Provence a couple of years ago, and could never bring myself to toss.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Had a wonderful time with The Muses here yesterday. We managed to get through our lunch without any contractors barging in to demolish my kitchen. In fact, we had so much fun, it was almost dinnertime before the party broke up! The only upsetting part came after everyone left, when I realized that, once again, I hadn't remembered to snap a single dang picture to share with you here on the blog. DOH! This, however, got me to thinkin', and I've come to the conclusion that my forgetting to take pictures at almost all of the really important stuff? Well, that's probably a good thing. 

You see, just a couple of days ago, after seeing a little YouTube video called Look Up, I wrote this in my morning pages: "I've been thinking about how much I hate seeing an entire table in a restaurant these days, where everyone at the table has their faces glued to their i-phones, instead of looking at each other. Or, seeing a little kid trying to talk to a mom or dad who is paying more attention to their phone than to the kid. Then there was that family with three kids who came into the cafe where we were eating lunch not long ago. As soon as they sat down the dad pulled out three tablet gizmos, passing one to each kid. All possible conversation nipped in the bud before it even had a chance to begin! To tell you the truth, it made me want to cry. I couldn't help but remember how hearing our kids talk at dinner each evening, and thinking of ever new ways to draw the details of their days out of them, was pretty much the high point of our lives for about twenty years. Gawd! How we missed it when they left!"

After I wrote that, I started wondering if, perhaps, my blog and my camera might be keeping me from being fully engaged in my life. Fortunately, yesterday's no-photo episode reminded me that I almost never remember to take pictures when I'm having too much fun with friends and family. I don't even have a tablet or an I-pod, and though John did make me get an android phone, I'm probably the only person around who doesn't do anything with it, other than answer calls. So, I guess it's fairly safe to say that gizmos have not yet prevented me from being present when it really counts.

What about you? Are you remembering to "Look Up"?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Get a load of these ginormous agave blooms near the barber shop in town, just fixin' tuh open. They sure look a lot like asparagus, don't they?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it's shaping up to be a crazy couple of weeks. I'm hosting a birthday luncheon for a couple of the Muses today, and then my two sisters arrive next Tuesday, and stay for almost a week.  Sooooo, wouldn't you know, after weeks and weeks of waiting for appliances to come in, of hubby going back and forth about how he wants things done,  and of someone or other dropping by about once a week to take more measurements, we finally got a call last week from our contractor saying they were ready to get this kitchen re-do show on the road!

As usual, they didn't give us a specific day or time of arrival so, for all I know, they could be showing up in the middle of my party today, ready to start tearing out my stove and cabinets! (I went with a no-cook menu, just in case.) Also par for the course, my hubby, whose brain fart this project was, is now working out of town. Should be interesting!

Monday, May 5, 2014


Looks like somebody's been plant shopping.


Sunday, May 4, 2014


A pretty glass on the windowsill...

filled with freshly-pruned, fragrant basil.